Tyler, TX (KETK) — The Azalea Flower Trail has been an institution in the Tyler community for 55 years. The flowers were introduced in 1929 by Maurice Shamburger, who shipped them in from Georgia.
KETK spoke with the Assistant Vice President of Tourism and Services, Susan Travis, who said, "Many of these Azalea bushes that are out there are 60, 70, 80 years old. So it's amazing. When they bloom it's just phenomenal. I mean you cannot imagine the beauty unless you've seen it". So beautiful that more than 100,000 visitors tour through the ten miles of residential gardens and historic homes.
Travis said, "Over $2 million every year is the economic impact for the Azalea Trails. So we're very blessed to have this in our community". The open cermony begins on Friday morning, and for a full list of activities, visit: http://www.visittyler.com/azaleatrail  .
However, the question remains, will the flowers be ready by Friday? We spoke with James Wilhite from Wilhite Landscaping, who said, "Azaleas I think were pretty much on track for a good opening for the Azalea Trail, however the cold weather we had two weeks ago and the ice that lasted for a couple days, set that trail back i think at least a week". The Azaleas that would normally have full blooms by now, were so damaged by the storm they cannot recover. Wilhite believes, "Now we will have plants developing right along in this beautiful weather, so perhaps next weekend we'll begin to see a pretty good display".
So now we wait, and although the blooming may be delayed, the pay off here in East Texas is always worth the wait.